Calhoun elevated to head wrestling coach

By Jacob Knabel on Apr. 11, 2018 in Wrestling

SEWARD, Neb. – An assistant on the Concordia University wrestling staff since 2015, Levi Calhoun has earned a well-deserved promotion. On Wednesday (April 11), the athletic department announced Calhoun as the program’s new head coach, effective immediately. Calhoun has been on the bench for GPAC championship seasons in 2016 and 2017. The Baker University (Kan.) alum is ready to put his stamp on the program following seven seasons serving as an assistant at the NAIA level.

Said Calhoun, “I’d first like to thank President (Brian) Friedrich, Devin Smith and Angela Muller for this incredible opportunity. Thanks must also go out to my wife, Hollie, and my parents who have supported me throughout my athletic and coaching careers. I am beyond excited to take over this program and continue to be a part of the Bulldog Family. I have been blessed to have been mentored by some great leaders in my time as an assistant coach. Each has played a role in preparing me to be a head coach. We have an incredible group of young men returning as well as a promising recruiting class that we will continue to build throughout the coming months. Our current and future student-athletes will strive to achieve academic excellence, competitive greatness, as well as live their lives on and off the mat as men of Christian character.”

While working with four head coaches over his two different stints as an assistant, Calhoun has been preparing himself for such an opportunity as this. Director of Athletics Devin Smith is confident that the time is right.

Said Smith, “In the three seasons that Coach Calhoun has spent with us at Concordia, he has shown considerable growth both personally and professionally. He has learned from unique settings and a variety of coaches. He has the knowledge of and passion for the sport, the drive to succeed and the value systems that we look for in our head coaches. We are confident that Levi will represent our athletic department and university in a Christ-like manner and move our championship wrestling program forward as we embody the core values of the Concordia Athletic Department.”

Since arriving in Seward, Calhoun has collaborated on some of the most successful seasons in Concordia wrestling history. The 2015-16 team won GPAC/NAIA North Qualifier championships and recorded an eighth-place national championships finish, the highest ever for the program. Over his three seasons with the Bulldogs, Calhoun has coached six All-Americans, including 2016 national champion Andrew Schulte and 2017 national runner up Ceron Francisco. Giovanni Castillo became the program’s latest All-American this past March. Furthermore, the 2015-16 and 2016-17 squads that Calhoun assisted on went a combined 14-0 in GPAC duals.

Prior to being hired by former head coach Dana Vote in 2015, Calhoun spent the previous four seasons as assistant wrestling coach at Baker, an institution located in Baldwin City, Kan., and a member of the NAIA’s Heart of America Athletic Conference. The native of Moore, Okla., helped the Wildcats make a dent on the national level. During his time there as an assistant, he coached 11 All-Americans, three national finalists and a national champion.

As a student-athlete from 2006 to 2009, Calhoun twice qualified for the NAIA wrestling national championships and became the school’s first-ever wrestling All-American when he took fourth place in the heavyweight bracket. Calhoun also started all four years on the defensive line for the Wildcat football team. He garnered first team all-conference football recognition twice. Calhoun earned his bachelor of science in physical education from Baker. He and his wife Hollie reside in Seward.

Calhoun is the fourth Concordia head wrestling coach since the program’s reboot in 2009. Calhoun replaces Andrew Nicola, who had been head coach since the fall of 2016.